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In 1920, black residents in the Ocoee area owned land and businesses and were eager to vote. Despite a terrorizing Ku Klux Klan march through the Orlando streets on October 30, 1920, Mose Norman and other African Americans attempted to vote. They were turned away. After seeking advice from Orlando Judge John Cheney, Norman again attempted to vote. Armed whites stationed at the polls immediately assaulted him. Reportedly he fled to the home of his friend and business comrade, July Perry. A mob, seeking to capture Perry and Norman, surrounded and attacked Perry's home. Two white members of the mob were shot and killed by Perry. Perry suffered a severe wound during the raid and was arrested and jailed. The next morning, November 3, 1920, a lynch mob took Perry from his cell, beat him severely, and hanged him at the entrance of the Orlando Country Club. His lifeless body was shot repeatedly. Mobs of white men from surrounding cities traveled to the northern quarters of Ocoee to join local white citizens in torching the homes and businesses of black residents. For two days the mob burned 25 black homes, two black churches, and a masonic lodge. Reports of black residents killed in the violence range from six to over 30 casualties, the actual number is unknown. Survivors fled, never to return; the black community of Ocoee was forced out. Ocoee remained an all-white community for 60 years. Decades later, Ocoee is a city on the rise, a diverse and welcoming community. People of all races have come together to acknowledge this painful history and continue to move forward to an even brighter future.
2018 City of Ocoee Proclamation – https://www.ocoee.org/2018-November-1920-Proclamation-PDF
2020 City of Ocoee Apology Letter – https://www.ocoee.org/Official-Formal-Apology-PDF
100 Year Remembrance Events - https://www.ocoee.org/adayofremembrance